Solskjaer's dream Europa League draw
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is dreaming of the perfect 48th birthday present today - a Europa League last-16 pairing with his former club Molde.
Manchester United eased through to the next stage with a 4-0 aggregate win against Real Sociedad, following last week’s comfortable defeat of the Spaniards in Turin with a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.
Meanwhile, as the Reds were booking a place in the draw in Switzerland, Norwegians Molde were pulling off a sensational win in Germany against Hoffenheim.
Molde had drawn at home, 3-3 the week earlier, in their first match since 19 December, having had a winter break in Norway.
Erling Moe’s side won 2-0 away from home, against the odds, at Hoffenheim’s expense to go into the draw with United.
Solskjaer, of course, signed for United back in 1996 after two seasons, when he scored 31 league goals in 42 appearances for Molde, and he also managed the club between 2011 and 2014 when current boss Moe was first-team coach.
And the boss admits facing his old side would be on his birthday wish-list.
“Of course, I would like to meet Molde,” he declared.
“I spoke to Erling [Moe] this morning and they had loads of injuries and illness, and the state of the season they are at, that must be the performance of the round to go through against Hoffenheim. Absolutely exceptional.
“I am so proud of Erling and the boys and, if we play them, we know it is going to be difficult.
“Unfortunately, if we draw them, it is not going to be in Norway.”
Highlights: United 0 Real Sociedad 0
Okay, there are no goals, but our match-action video does feature a missed penalty and a disallowed header...
WHO THE FANS WANT
United can face one of 15 clubs in the draw and, according to a poll that we published on Wednesday, the majority of supporters want the manager to get his wish...
36 per cent - Molde
12 per cent - Young Boys
9 per cent - Rangers
7 per cent - Arsenal
6 per cent - Milan
5 per cent - Granada
5 per cent - Tottenham
4 per cent - Ajax
4 per cent - Dinamo Zagreb
4 per cent - Slavia Prague
2 per cent - Dynamo Kiev
2 per cent - Olympiacos
2 per cent - Roma
2 per cent - Shakhtar Donetsk
Follow live updates of the Europa League draw in our rolling blog.